Wednesday 21 February 2018

Taoiseach inherits 'male-dominated' department

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has inherited a "completely male-dominated" department at the top level, despite having almost twice as many women as men in its ranks.

The Department of the Taoiseach has 179 staff, of which 111 are women and 68 are men.

All of the cleaners are female and almost all of the lower positions are dominated by women -- clerical officers, staff officers and executive officers.

Yet men account for 13 out of 16 principal officers, four out of five assistant secretaries and the secretary-general's position, according to new figures.

The department blamed the shortage of women in the higher ranks on the ban on recruitment and promotion.

In a statement, it said the principle of equality underpinned all aspects of its human resources policy -- and it supported work-sharing options, term time and flexi-time.

But it said 68pc of the 25 assistant principal officers in the department were female -- the critical grade for promotion to principal officer.

"Due to the moratorium on recruitment and promotion, none of the vacancies at principal officer or assistant secretary grades in the Department of the Taoiseach arising from retirements or promotion have been filled over the past two years," the department said.

The National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) said the department was "completely male dominated" at the top level.

NWCI policy officer Orla O'Connor said: "It's certainly showing that women are moving up, but right at the top you're still seeing very low levels," she said.

The main reason for the lower number of women in top positions was their other "care responsibilities"-- such as raising their children or looking after elderly parents.

"To go for promotion at that sort of senior level within departments. . . the combining of those is very difficult because you are expected to work late hours and be very much available," she said.

However, Ms O'Connor said that as women accounted for 19 out of 26 assistant principal positions -- the fourth highest rank in the department -- this meant more were likely to get promoted to higher positions in future.

Irish Independent

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